The organisers of a local soup kitchen in Mansfield are being supported by local Labour Councillors in their fight against eviction from Mansfield market place.
Two soup kitchens are being threatened with eviction from the market place and have been served with two weeks’ notice by the Leader of the UKIP group on Mansfield District Council.
The Local Labour Party have launched a petition against the move to evict the groups, calling them a ‘lifeline’ for local people at a time of desperate need.
The petition was set up by Nottinghamshire County Councillor for Mansfield East; Colleen Harwood, who said: "I am very concerned the soup kitchen has have been served a two week notice to quit from UKIP Councillor Barry Answer, they say that it is not needed in the area, but there is a real need for the soup kitchen, and the service users that need it agree."
A local Labour Party member spoke out against the closure: “I’ve been homeless and broke and I can say it’s not just about the food with places like that. Its feeling like someone gives a damn, and not everyone sees you as a scrounge on the town.
“When you regularly hear ‘we can’t help, you’re not priority’ you feel insignificant. The guys at the soup kitchen make people feel they are important and that people do care.”
Sara Spalding, one the co-ordinators of the Wednesday night soup kitchen said: “The guys who come to us on a Wednesday night have told us how they enjoy the atmosphere, how they don’t get preached at and feel they can have a laugh with us, they say it makes them feel ‘normal’! One guy the other week said we were the only family he had.”
Councillor Sonya Ward, Leader of the Labour Group, said: “Having visited the Wednesday night soup kitchen and witnessed the professionalism and commitment of the volunteers, I firmly believe that the Mayor, Kate Allsop and Cllr Barry Answer should reconsider forcing these kind volunteers to move unless they can provide them with suitable alternative accommodation.
“The people using the kitchen describe it as a lifeline. Whilst it is appalling that we have residents living in such desperate circumstances, the work done by this project shows the compassion of Mansfield people, which should be supported by the council.”
People wishing to can sign the petition here: https://www.change.org/p/to-stop-mayor-allsop-and-her-executive-cabinet-at-mdc-closing-the-mansfield-soup-kitchen-to-stop-mayor-allsop-and-her-executive-cabinet-closing-ma